one hour at a time

Again, I am working on being productive with shorter practice sessions that are disrupted by other daily activities…


Rip Tide

Warmup – chromatic exercises (full instrument, and within range of piece), incorporating all cymbals into 8th note patterns within chromatic scales (learning the instrument with the cymbals included) = 120-130bpm

Work with cymbals – read through all including cymbal parts… not too difficult to read, though tempo was about 90bpm. My plan is to incorporate cymbals into each section once I can play 120bpm mallets only.

Mm. 153-end – mallets only at 115bpm

Mm. 94-152 – mallets only at 120bpm; with cymbals at 100bpm

Mm. 1-42 –  all at 130bpm

Mm. 43-93 – mallets only at 120bpm; with cymbals at 110bpm

Everything above was done over the course of two 1-hour timed practice sessions (each hour was separated by numerous household chores and errands, etc.). I am so used to practicing for 3 or 4 hours straight (with many short breaks) that this feels wrong… like I am not practicing, or I am not really digging in. BUT, looking back at this list, I did accomplish a lot and felt good while doing it. I’ve just got to get used to this method of practicing.

3 Replies to “one hour at a time”

  1. Hi Julie,
    My intuition tells me that your choice of the yarn mallets will sound pretty good on the cymbals in this context. I look forward to listening to an early version of a recording when you are ready 🙂

  2. Hi Julie,
    I am just curious – do you have any early impressions – at this stage of learning/practicing – what the overall sound is with the marimba, bass drum and cymbals? In other words, do you foresee some tricky balance factors with this instrument combination?

    1. Hi Michael, I have been playing around with a few different mallet options that work well on marimba… they are each progressively more/less articulate on the cymbals, but all are pretty inarticulate because they are wound/wrapped yarn. Other than that, I think the balance of the instruments is all on me. Each cymbal requires a different stroke velocity, and all are extremely different than striking the marimba. But again, that is totally on me/the performer to make up for those differences. I think this is going to sound great, and see no issue with the instrument combination. I did try making recordings for you with cymbals and marimba, but I kept messing the notes, so I’ll try again tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, until I have something even remotely acceptable.

      If you end up thinking the yarn/cord mallets are too soft for the cymbals, I will have to try holding two-mallets in each hand – one for marimba, and one for cymbals.

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